McDonald evens record with 3-1, sweeping victory Orioles top Brewers for 4th straight win

August 06, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

It has been a long struggle, but Ben McDonald finally got back to even last night. In the process, the tall, lanky, hard-throwing right-hander presented ample evidence that he's the best .500 pitcher in baseball.

McDonald balanced his record at 9-9 as the Orioles completed a four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with a 3-1 victory at Camden Yards. It marked the first time since he beat the Kansas City Royals on April 30 to go to 2-2 that McDonald's record has been at the break-even point.

In winning for the fifth time in his past six starts, McDonald held incheck the team that has tormented him the most. While logging his second complete game of the year, McDonald allowed eight hits, struckout four and walked none.

On a night when McDonald dominated most of the action, it was Jack Voigt who headed up the supporting cast. Getting a rare start in right field, Voigt made a key defensive play and had singles in each of his last two at-bats to set up the game's final two runs.

The win marked the first four-game sweep for the Orioles since April 17-20, 1992, when they victimized the Detroit Tigers, and only the second in the brief history of Oriole Park. It also enabled the Orioles to move within three games of the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to the New York Yankees, 5-4, yesterday afternoon.

On the surface, the duel between McDonald and Novoa might have appeared to be a mismatch. McDonald was on the best roll of his career with a 2.62 ERA in his previous 16 starts, despite a 6-6 record in that span, and Novoa was looking for his first major-league win.

However, Milwaukee was the team that had given McDonald the most trouble during his career. He was 1-5 against the Brewers, the most losses he has suffered to any team. In addition, the Orioles were below .500 (14-15) against left-handed starters.

Novoa, who was 10-5 for Triple-A New Orleans before being recalled July 26, was making his third start for the Brewers and only his fifth in the big leagues. He was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games with the Giants in 1990 and then was released after going 10-7 (3.26 ERA) with Double-A El Paso in 1991.

A slow reaction by McDonald might have cost him a run in the first inning, when Robin Yount was able to score on a short wild pitch. Yount took a pitch the opposite way, lining a double to right with one out, then moving to third on an infield grounder by B. J. Surhoff.

While pitching to Greg Vaughn, McDonald bounced a sharp breaking pitch in the dirt, with the ball rolling about 20 feet away from catcher Jeff Tackett. Yount broke immediately and got to the plate ahead of McDonald, who was late with a diving tag.

The Orioles got the run back in a hurry when Brady Anderson led off with a double and scored on another two-base hit by Mike Devereaux. But the game quickly settled into a pitcher's duel between McDonald and Novoa.

McDonald gave up a pair of hits in the third inning, but Voigt threw out Bill Spiers trying to stretch his leadoff single to right field into a double. And after Juan Bell extended his hitting streak to 12 games, Yount grounded into a double play.

Novoa had retired nine straight hitters before Voigt led off the fifth with a sharp single through the middle. Tackett followed with a sacrifice bunt and Anderson lined out before Novoa's control failed him for the only time.

Mark McLemore coaxed the only walk of the game from Novoa, who then went to a 2-0 count on Devereaux. The next pitch was drilled past Bell at shortstop and Voigt easily scored the go-ahead run before Cal Ripken hit into a force for the third out.

McDonald survived his own two-out error on Kevin Seitzer's bouncer in the seventh, when Devereaux threw out the potential tying run at third on a bloop single by Tom Lampkin.

Voigt was in the middle of things again in the seventh, when he led off with a single to center. Tackett followed with a bunt single, but was out at second after a throwing error by first baseman John Jaha that allowed Voigt to take third, from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Anderson.

Brewers-Orioles scoring B0

Brewers first: Bell grounded out to pitcher

McDonald. Yount doubled down the right field line. Surhoff grounded out to first baseman Segui, Yount to third. On McDonald's wild pitch, Yount scored. Vaughn singled to right. Reimer grounded out to second baseman McLemore. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Brewers 1, Orioles 0.

Orioles first: Anderson doubled to right. McLemore grounded out to pitcher Novoa. Devereaux doubled down the left field line, Anderson scored. Ripken popped out to shortstop Bell. Hammonds flied out to center fielder Yount. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Orioles 1, Brewers 1.

Orioles fifth: Voigt singled to center. Tackett sacrificed, pitcher Novoa to second baseman Spiers, Voigt to second. Anderson lined out to right fielder Seitzer. McLemore walked. Devereaux singled past shortstop, Voigt scored, McLemore to third. Ripken grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Bell to second baseman Spiers, Devereaux forced at second. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Orioles 2, Brewers 1.

Orioles seventh: Voigt singled to center. Tackett singled to second, Voigt to second, and on first baseman Jaha's throwing error, Voigt to third, and Tackett out at second, second baseman Spiers to shortstop Bell. Anderson hit sacrifice fly to right fielder Seitzer, Voigt scored. McLemore flied out to center fielder Yount. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 0 left on. Orioles 3, Brewers 1.

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